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HUMC: Take us out of ball game

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    All publicity is good publicity, right? Insiders at Hackensack University Medical Center didn't necessarily feel that way when the chief of its Sports Medicine Division injected himself into the middle of Alex Rodriguez's squabble with the Yankees.

    Dr. Michael Gross told anyone who would listen — newspapers, radio, Internet sites — that he felt the injured A-Rod was ready to play, even though Gross admitted he had only reviewed MRIs and talked to the third baseman on the phone but never actually examined him. Hospital insiders were quick to point out that Gross — as is often the case at hospitals — has privileges there, but is not an actual hospital employee, which most sportswriters covering the baseball brouhaha missed.

    His opinions, the hospital said, were his alone as a private practitioner.

    Gross admitted to The Record that he was enjoying his "five minutes of fame." Hackensack may not have felt the same, especially when it was revealed that Gross was reprimanded by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners for steroid-related offenses in February.

    Big Apple's taste for high-tech

    Is New York doing a better job than New Jersey courting technology entrepreneurs? Some members of New Jersey's tech community think so.

    An insider who works to provide support for entrepreneurs in the tech space says New Jersey is falling behind the Empire State, even as more companies join support groups on this side of the river.

    The problem, the source said, is getting the attention of state officials. That's not a problem in New York, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration aggressively courting tech entrepreneurs. The source pointed out that New York generously provides startups with community-oriented workspaces that help businesses get started, plus other grants and programs.

    "New Jersey is not doing enough to foster the ecosystem," the source said. "You can't match New York City for the vibrant community and help they get from the government under Bloomberg. Chris Christie needs to do more."

    A phone call to Christie's office was referred to the lieutenant governor and State Department, which did not return a message seeking comment. Messages to the technology and life sciences division of the Economic Development Authority also were not returned.

    A 2012 study conducted by the Center for an Urban Future concluded that the technology industry is growing faster in New York City than anywhere in the United States, and that the city trails only the Silicon Valley as a hub for the development of new technology companies.

    No rushing on Rutgers

    The battle over exit fees between Rutgers and the former Big East has been mostly quiet this summer, with few signs of a resolution despite having been in court since November. One observer of the case said he wasn't surprised.

    "I suspect that nobody's in a hurry," the person said. "The Big East isn't, because they're not laying out the money, and Rutgers has had all of the changes in leadership."

    Rutgers, which has since left for the Big Ten, is seeking a waiver of a $10 million exit fee and its share of penalties the Big East is collecting from other departing schools. The docket was light for more months until June, when Rutgers learned the conference was holding back $2.5 million in shared revenues in place of a portion of its exit fee.

    The discovery prompted a new round of protests by Rutgers' attorneys in court filings about two weeks ago.

    Of the lawsuit, the source said "it's something that really should have been settled by negotiation without ever going to court. It looks like it's a negotiation tactic."

    Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Tom Bergeron at tomb@njbiz.com.

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